A clever time to connect with your teens is in the car, as it's not so easy for them to get up and leave. You can learn a lot about your teens when they're in the car, as the lack of eye contact can sometimes make it easier to talk, and if their friends are in the car, you get to know them as well. Ways to connect with your teen include a walk together, a shopping trip, or a shared hobby or chore. While you and your teen do the chore together, you can share your feelings about something that happened to you at work or what you think about an item reported in the newspaper. Ask your teenagers what they think and, of course, never make fun of them when they offer an opinion or share their feelings. If you have a hidden agenda, such as trying to impress your teenager with how smart you are, you're teen will see right through you and you won't succeed in connecting. The more you listen, the more your teenager will talk and the more he or she will think of you as an approachable person.
Compliment your teenager; let him know when he helped you out or what you really love about her personality. Don't expect your teen to be a carbon copy of an older sibling or what you were like as a teenager.
In addition to private time with your teen, family time can be a time to connect. Experts suggest eating dinner together with your teens most nights during the week, without the television or cell phone for competition. Is there a sport that your teen enjoys? Join in the fun, or at least offer a ride to wherever the swimming match, basketball game, or ice skating practice takes place.